Nice’s Julien Fournier on INEOS investment: “It allows us to keep our best players.”

In an interview with Goal, Nice director of football Julien Fournier notably spoke of the impact of investors INEOS as well as his working relationship with manager Christophe Galtier.

On whether the INEOS project has really got going this season

The project stays the same. Now, the arrival of INEOS allows us to keep our best players. At another time, the likes of Amine Gouiri would already have been sold, likewise for Kasper Dolberg or Khéphren Thuram. The real difference today is in our ability to keep our best players to be competitive over the long-term.

On how he convinced Christophe Galtier to join

We’ve known each other for 20 years and we’ve been circling around the idea of working together in the last few years. It’s a bit different with Christophe because we’ve always had a relationship and a link, so without me having to speak to him about it, he already knew the project because it was part of our discussions as friends.

We identified him, I even want to say convinced, before he became Champion [with Lille last season]. Even if he hadn’t won Ligue 1 he would be at Nice. Picking a manager is also a question of timing, and we had an intuition with Claude Puel and Lucien Favre. Those were two good choices but also in the right order. Galtier’s arrival comes at the right time with regard to his profile and where the club is.

On Christophe Galtier’s role in transfers [having said at Lille that he wanted to keep out of them]

It’s a bit more subtle than that. In football, we have this idea that we’ll scout a player and submit his profile to the coach for approval. That’s not exactly how we work. Firstly, there’s a relationship of trust between us. A director of football news to have faith in the manager to lead the project well – developing the players, getting results.

But the opposite is true as well, a manager needs to have faith in his director of sport and his team, and be sure that we’ve understood the kind of profiles that they want. I spoke a lot with Christophe about his style of play. We’ve always built our squads in a 4-3-3 whereas he plays in a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 so I had some worries and it posed a few questions. We spoke a lot about this and realised that it was doable. Then we’re the ones who work, but Christophe is allowed to have some ideas on recruitment. But a guy like Rosario, he didn’t him before. I told him, “Christophe, with regard to the profile of player we need, we’ll sign this player”. Then, it’s my responsibility.

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